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Jumat, 27 November 2020

Coronavirus Australia live updates: China releases wild new virus claim - NEWS.com.au

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a research paper claiming the first coronavirus cases actually appeared in India before then travelling to Wuhan.

The paper claims the source of the virus could have been from humans and wild animals sharing the same water source due to a large heatwave across India and Pakistan in 2019.

“The water shortage made wild animals such as monkeys engage in the deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions.”

However, other experts have thrown doubt on these claims, calling the paper “bias” and “very flawed”.

It comes after  Victoria did the seemingly impossible, and officially eliminated COVID-19 by hitting a major milestone yesterday.

It wasn’t long ago, on August 11,  that there were 7880 active cases in the state, but now Victoria has hit 28 days without a single infection.

Epidemiologists say elimination is achieved after 28 days without new infections or mystery cases in the community, but Victoria has gone one better with no infections recorded at all.

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A team of Chinese scientists have claimed the widely accepted belief of where the COVID-19 virus originated is false, with the researchers pointing to another country as the source of the pandemic.

Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a research paper claiming the first coronavirus cases actually appeared in India before then travelling to Wuhan, China.

The group used phylogenetic analysis in an attempt to trace down the origin of the virus through different mutations, arguing that the strain with the fewest mutations would be the original.

With this in mind, the researchers argued the first cases couldn't have possibly occurred in Wuhan, instead pointing the finger at India and Bangladesh due to virus strains with low mutations being recorded in these areas.

The scientists went on to claim the source of the virus could have been from humans and wild animals sharing the same water source.

"From May to June 2019, the second longest recorded heat wave had rampaged in northern-central India and Pakistan, which created a serious water crisis in this region," the paper reads.
"The water shortage made wild animals such as monkeys engage in the deadly fight over water among each other and would have surely increased the chance of human-wild animal interactions.

"We speculated that the [animal to human] transmission of SARS-CoV-2 might be associated with this unusual heat wave."

This isn't the first time Chinese officials have tried to deflect the blame of where the virus began, previously pointing at the US and Italy as having the first COVID-19 cases.

It seems not everyone is convinced by this new research paper, with Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, calling the paper "very flawed".

"The author's approach of identifying the “least mutated” virus sequences is inherently biased," he told the Daily Mail.
"The authors have also ignored the extensive epidemiological data available that shows clear emergence in China and that the virus spread from there.
"This paper adds nothing to our understanding of SARS-CoV-2."

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton described “tension” as he realised he’d been excluded from the hotel quarantine program he was legally responsible for.

In emails from April 13 to Euan Wallace, then the Department Secretary, Prof Sutton said it was “astounding” the hotel quarantine program, code named Operation Soteria, had been set up without consulting with him or his deputy, Annaliese van Diemen. The email was published by The Australian.

He said the program had been set up by the State Controller and Emergency Management Victoria.

Prof Sutton continued on that Ms van Diemen had written “the direction so was effectively the ‘maker’ of the entire scheme and has responsibility for it in law.

“There is clearly a disconnect with our EM colleagues, perhaps especially in EMV who understand their role as controller of the scheme and effectively excluded those with significant accountability,” he said.

“That is a source of unease — moral and legal!”

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Text messages exchanged between Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his Chief of Staff, sent the first night of the bungled hotel quarantine program have been revealed.

The text exchange, published by The Australian, show Mr Andrews asking his staffer Lissie Ratcliff about the hotel quarantine program.

Mr Andrews texted Ms Ratcliffe on March 27, at 8.26pm:

“How are we going on hotels and midnight tomorrow? Do we have many flights tomorrow. Call if you need to.”

Ms Ratfcliffe replied:

“I’ll have updates tonight on
-number of rooms
-transportation guidelines for leaving rooms
-protection for workers
-number of expected arrivals / flights for Sunday.

“It’ll only apply to flights landing after midnight so anyone coming in during the day won’t be caught up.

“Will get you an update as soon as it comes through.”

Mr Andrews said in an affidavit to the Hotel Quarantine Inquiry he did not make the decision to use private security guards at quarantine hotels.

He said he doesn’t have a role in “operational” decisions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has celebrated the state’s 28th day without a new coronavirus case, saying it’s an achievement that belongs to all Victorians.

“28 days of zero cases is a good way to end the week,” he wrote on Twitter.

“It's been a long, hard slog to get here. Victorians have dug so deep and sacrificed so much.

“And this achievement belongs to every single one of you.

“Have a good one – and stay safe.

“Because that’s how we stay open.”

The 28 day mark is considered a benchmark for essentially eliminating coronavirus by epidemiologists.

The length of time is close to two life cycles of the virus.

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2020-11-27 20:57:49Z
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